Friday, May 16, 2014

"Whites were here first" fanatics undeterred by scientific proof to the contrary

In 2007, divers off Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula discovered a deep underwater cave, where they found numerous fossilized bones from long extinct species, such as the Saber-Tooth Tiger and giant ground sloths. They also found the near complete skeletal remains of a human being, a girl of perhaps 15 years of age at the time of her death. The bones were dated about 12,000 to 13,000 years old. This discovery didn’t excite anywhere near the publicity of Kennewick Man, found in the state of Washington. No doubt there was concern about “jumping to conclusions” as Jim Chatters did when he described Kennewick Man as having ”Caucasoid” characteristics, exciting a round of racist theorizing about “who was here first”—which didn’t stop even when an independent study of its DNA and skull characteristics pointed to east Asian origins.

Chatters, perhaps to set the record “straight,” co-authored a study published in Science on the nature and origins of the bones of the girl now named Naia. In a brief summary, the truth is clear enough:

Because of differences in craniofacial morphology and dentition between the earliest American skeletons and modern Native Americans, separate origins have been postulated for them, despite genetic evidence to the contrary. We describe a near-complete human skeleton with an intact cranium and preserved DNA found with extinct fauna in a submerged cave on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula. This skeleton dates to between 13,000 and 12,000 calendar years ago and has Paleoamerican craniofacial characteristics and a Beringian-derived mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) haplogroup (D1). Thus, the differences between Paleoamericans and Native Americans probably resulted from in situ evolution rather than separate ancestry.

In other words, Naia came from the same genetic strain as modern Native Americans, and differences in skull features either indicate a separate, earlier migratory group that eventually died out, or by evolutionary process. But that hasn’t stopped so-called scientists and white supremacist types with a “white people were here first” philosophy from offering their “alternative” view. These theories are based solely on the discovery of so-called Clovis points, which are alleged to be of solely European origin. 

That includes the Seattle Times, which has for years shamelessly cheerleaded such claims in regard to Kennewick Man, and its reporter on this latest study still gives credibility to long discredited “theories” by the likes of Dennis Stanford of the Smithsonian Institute. The credulous reporter allows Stanford to expectorate that “It’s hard to draw sweeping conclusions from a single skeleton (much like he did in regard to Kennewick Man),” and editorializing “based on similarities between spear points and stone tools, Stanford is convinced that some of the first people to settle North America came from Europe — and there’s nothing in the new study to rule that out, he said."

Stanford’s colleague, Douglas Owsley, who is allegedly “a leading expert” on Kennewick Man, “cautioned” that the findings were based on “a sample of one”—odd how he and others have made wild claims based solely on the single example of Kennewick Man, which he and others in the scientific community made without proper testing or study. Even Scientific American and other “scholarly” publications used this as license to depict the earliest Americans with clearly Caucasian features, and the History Channel has also done so its documentary programming. 

As of now, it is indisputable that the oldest human remains found in the Americas is genetically one and the same with modern Native Americans. Why some people insist otherwise can only be due to racial arrogance and conceit—not scientific rigor.

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